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Federal File: Borcherdt Nomination; Trust Busting; Rights Records; Laid Back

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Wendy Borcherdt, whom the Senate has refused to confirm as the Education Department's chief liaison with states and school systems, is leaving government service.

According to a department spokesman, the White House agreed to withdraw Ms. Borcherdt's nomination after it became apparent that the Senate would continue to refuse to act on it.

Ms. Borcherdt reportedly has accepted a position with a private firm.

Earlier this month President Reagan told a group of Catholic educators that the Administration's tuition-tax credit and education-voucher proposals must be enacted in order to break public education's "monopoly" on schooling.

"At any time that we ever settle for a monopoly on education, then we settle for the evils that go with a monopoly," Mr. Reagan told members of the National Catholic Educational Association here recently. "And certainly that does not include academic freedom. In the long run, what we're proposing means a better and more diverse educational system for all of our children."

The Education Department delivered a package of materials to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week, thereby avoiding the circumstance of being forced to turn over the documents during a public hearing this week.

Commission staff members said Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell agreed--during a meeting with the panel's chairman, Clarence M. Pendleton Jr., on April 15--to provide the independent rights-monitoring agency with the materials.

The commission wanted to know why the department urged federal lawyers last August not to appeal a controversial court decision involving the refusal of University of Richmond to sign a form assuring that it does not discriminate on the basis of sex. In that case, U.S. District Judge D. Dortch Warriner ruled that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 applies only to the parts of a school or college that receive federal aid directly. He also barred the department from investigating programs within his jurisdiction if it failed to prove that those programs are the direct recipients of federal aid.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, raised quite a few eyebrows last week when, during a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and the Humanities, he pulled back his chair, raised one pin-striped leg, and set it squarely on top of a table, displaying an ornate and highly polished black cowboy boot.

Senators rarely prop their elected feet on their desks when they are conducting the nation's business.

Senator Hatch's shining boot remained on the table for five minutes despite the stares of his colleagues. Eventually, the Senator explained that he had injured his Achilles tendon while campaigning for re-election last year and that his foot swells unless he keeps it raised.--tm

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